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Eleven candidates being interviewed to serve as next Harford Community College president

Harford Community College leaders are reviewing 11 candidates for their first round of interviews, which is scheduled to continue through late this week, as they go through the months-long process of selecting a new college president.

Former President Dianna Phillips, who had led the community college since August of 2016, resigned in February. Administrator Jacqueline Jackson has served as interim president since Phillips’ resignation, leading HCC as the college community deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The majority of classes for the fall 2020 semester, which started Aug. 24, are happening virtually, although people can visit the Bel Air campus for certain hands-on activities once they pass a health screening.

Jackson has not applied to be president and said she plans to return to her prior position as vice president of student affairs and institutional effectiveness, and Title IX coordinator, once a new president is in place. College officials expect that to happen in January for the start of the spring 2021 semester.

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“It looks like we’re on track for that right now,” Laura Henninger, chair of the HCC Board of Trustees, said.

A nine-member committee led by two trustees — Steve Linkous and Christopher Payne — and composed of representatives of the college’s faculty, staff and student communities, as well as the HCC Foundation board and two Harford County community members, is overseeing the presidential search process. The Board of Trustees also engaged the services of executive search firm Diversified Search, headquartered in Philadelphia, to help with finding candidates.

The initial response to the search was “overwhelming,” with more than 40 people submitting applications. The candidate pool has been narrowed down to 11 for the first round of interviews, which started Aug. 24 and is scheduled to last through Thursday, according to HCC spokesperson Nancy Dysard.

The Board of Trustees expects to have the finalists selected and conduct interviews with them in late September and early October. The interviews will happen virtually, and officials are still determining whether there can be an in-person component to those interviews, in which the finalists can interact with the HCC community, according to Henninger.

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“We do want to have the opportunity for our employees and members of the community to meet the candidates,” she said.

Phillips, the former HCC president, was among four finalists who visited the campus in November and December of 2015 as the trustees selected a successor to former President Dennis Golladay, who retired in late July of 2016 after leading the college for six years.

At that time, each finalist spent a day on campus meeting with different groups of people within the HCC community, then met with the wider community during an hour-long open forum at the end of the day. The finalists talked about their backgrounds and answered questions from forum participants.

More information about the current search process is available online through the HCC’s Presidential Search web page.

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